CELEBRATING SPRING, SWEDISH STYLE ... For those who are in the mood for meatballs, or may have a hankering for herring, or a hunger for ham, March 18 is your night. A little taste of Sweden has come to IKEA in the form of its annual Easter Smorgasboard, known as "Paskbord" in Swedish. The restaurant at IKEA in East Palo Alto transforms into an all-you-can-eat buffet March 18, as the store celebrates the dawn of spring. And if history repeats itself, the buffet lines will be close to capacity, according to restaurant manager Elizabeth Johnson, who is expecting a full house. "Our last two buffets were sold out," she said. The lavish dinner will not only include the store's well-known Swedish meatballs, it will feature a variety of salmon, assorted cheeses, breads, salads and herrings, Swedish ham, Swedish sausage, and a Swedish casserole called Jannson's Temptations. An array of desserts and beverages will also be included. Considered a traditional meal of classic Swedish offerings, tonight's buffet has its first seating at 4:30 p.m., its second at 6:30 p.m. "Food is a staple for celebrating with family and friends. In Sweden, Paskbord is a food tradition that brings people together to celebrate spring and the Easter holiday. We look forward to sharing this tradition and our Swedish heritage with our customers," said Patricia Meumann, IKEA Food Manager.
The membership price (and becoming an IKEA member is free) for the buffet is $12.99 for adults and $2.99 for kids. The nonmember ticket price is $16.99 for adults, $4.99 kids. Tickets can be purchased at the store.
The restaurant at IKEA just finished a remodel of a large portion of its dining area. Completed less than a week ago, the redone section has updated flooring and new tables and chairs, built by, who else, IKEA employees.
HEALTHY COCKTAILS ... Yep, that's what Palo Alto restaurateur Charlie Ayers has in mind when he launches his newest creation at Calafia Cafe, the 7-year-old restaurant in Town & Country Village known for its eclectic menu and healthy, organic items. Ayers was able to acquire a full liquor license from nearby Scott's Seafood after it closed its doors one year ago. "We serve wine and beer right now, but once our liquor application goes through, we will be able to add cocktails," said Ayers, who wants to create drinks that have a wellness factor. "That way, you can get your antioxidants with your booze," he said. Ayers, who has attained some fame within the culinary industry for such stints as cooking for the Grateful Dead and as the former executive chef at Google, plans to add fresh herbs and fresh juices to Calafia's cocktails and promises, "I'll never use something out of a can or out of a box." Watch for the "Screwy Rabbit," which may become a popular drink at Calafia. "It's like a screwdriver, but I add carrot juice to the vodka," he said.